Airlines warned of chef's blowtorch danger

Date: 11 March 2002

Following an incident in which a chef’s blowtorch caught fire in an aircraft passenger’s baggage, the CAA has warned UK airlines and other interested parties of the danger these items can pose.

During loading of an aircraft, an alert baggage handler noticed a small suitcase glowing and emitting smoke. The case was removed from the hold and the fire extinguished before it could damage either the aircraft or any other baggage. Investigation revealed that the fire was caused by a chef's culinary blowtorch that had activated in the case, despite being fitted with a locking button.

Culinary blowtorches are all powered by butane gas. Because of this they are banned from being carried on-board an aircraft.

Head of the CAA’s Dangerous Goods Office, Kaye Warner, commented:

“Had this fire not been spotted then it could have resulted in a very serious incident. Kitchen blowtorches are becoming very common and we’ve asked airlines to alert their check-in staff to the possibility that passengers may occasionally have them packed in their luggage.”

The CAA monitors and enforces the carriage of dangerous goods on-board aircraft and issues a Travelling Safely leaflet to passengers informing them of what they can and can’t carry in their luggage. Airlines are also required to provide this information to passengers and have prominent notices at check-in and ticket sales desks.

For further information please contact Jonathan Nicholson on 020 7453 6027.

Notes to editors:

Copies of the Travelling Safely leaflet are available from the number above or on the CAA web site at Travelling Safely

Other items banned from being carried on-board an aircraft include:
  • Firearms

  • Knives

  • Explosives

  • Gases

  • Flammable materials

  • Poisons

  • Corrosives
  • and;
  • Sharp items

Items you can take on-board an aircraft include:
  • Alcoholic beverages not exceeding 70% alcohol by volume in containers up to five litres (up to five litres per person)

  • Toiletries including aerosols in containers up to 500g or 500ml with a total of two kilos or two litres per person

  • Gas powered hair curlers provided the safety cover is fitted at all times. One per person – separate refills are not permitted

  • Safety matches or a lighter provided they are carried on the person – lighter refills are not permitted.

The CAA is the UK’s specialist civil aviation regulator. Its primary role is the key areas of safety and airspace regulation together with work on economic regulation and the administration of the ATOL scheme which provides financial protection for holidays and flights.